Day after Israeli airstrikes in Syria, Russia test-fires missile; ‘it hits target like a fireball’
Moscow, Dec 27: On the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned Israeli air strikes on Syria, his ally in West Asia, as "provocative", he oversaw the launch of his country's new nuclear-capable missile system, Sky News reported. The Russian strongman also compared it with a "fireball".
Putin on Wednesday, December 26, watched from the Defence Ministry's control room as the Russian military test-fired an Avangard missile which he said "heads to target like a meteorite, like a fireball". The missile was launched from southwest Russia and it successfully hit and destroyed a target located 3,700 miles away in the far east, Sky News cited Putin as saying. Putin said the Avangard has an intercontinental range and can fly at 20 times the speed of sound.
In March, the Russian president said in a speech marked with aggression that Russian had acquired several new weapons, including the Avangard, that could not only hit almost any target but also skip American missile shield. He also said that Russia would deploy hypersonic muclear-capable missiles next year.
"The new Avangard missile system is invincible for today's and future air defence systems and missile defence systems. This is a big success and a big victory," he was quoted as saying.
'US has no defence against such weapon'
According to Mark Episkopos who wrote in the National Interest, Russia's new weapon sends a worrying signal to the US. He said: "A 2019 deployment schedule would put Russia ahead of China and the U.S. in the hypersonic, nuclear-capable boost-glider arms race. China's hypersonic glider analogue to Avangard, the DF-ZF, is still in testing and appears to be on track for a 2020 release. Less is known of concrete American production plans, with some experts suggesting that that US research is driven by different objectives in non-nuclear hypersonic boost-glide system research."
He also cited US Air Force General John E Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command, saying that America doesn't have a defence against employment of such a weapon against it at the moment.